Currently, the following countries are the world’s top five oil producers based on their respective output in barrels per day:
However, according to the International Energy Agency (IEA), the United States will become the world’s top oil producer by 2016. This feat, if it does come to pass will be quite remarkable considering that Saudi Arabia’s current output is more that the the combined output of the next ten countries combined. This projected dominance certainly has some advantages primarily in helping meet United States’ domestic energy requirements but also provides an added leverage in the geopolitical sphere.
So, what is fueling this march to global dominance in a sector that has mostly been dominated by Middle Eastern countries and Russia?
One prediction according to a report released last year by the IEA, global energy demand will grow between 35 and 46 percent from 2010 to 2035. Most of that growth will come from China, India and the Middle East, where the consuming class is growing rapidly. This prospect presents an obvious scenario that the oil that would otherwise be destined to the United States will now be routed to these other regions. The recognition of this reality coupled with the resurgence of oil and gas production in the United States, particularly the unlocking of new reserves of oil and gas found in shale rock has effectively increased domestic production of oil and natural gas.
Whether the U.S. surpasses Saudi Arabia as the world’s biggest producer will depend on the price of oil and Saudi production in the years ahead. Saudi Arabia sits on the world’s largest reserves of oil, and it raises and lowers production to try to keep oil prices steady. Saudi output is expected to remain about flat between now and 2017, according to the International Energy Agency. One notable distinction between United States and Saudi Arabian oil is that, Saudi oil is cheap to tap, while the methods needed to tap U.S. oil are more expensive